Amoebazoid: Zucking
Cycling '74

Not that it's the only thing one needs to know about Amoebazoid's Max/MSP-generated release but the word ‘Zuckung' comes from the German word for ‘twitch,' an apt choice for music of such jittery and mercurial character. On the plus side, Keith O Brien stuffs his high-energy tracks with a ton of ideas but also keeps them short and sweet; on the down side, the material's sometimes so packed, it's headache-inducing. Imagine merry melodies cranked up to 78, and you're close to imagining Zuckung's sound.

Certainly the ambient overture “Intersoup” ripples quietly enough and “G's Last Day” doesn't sound much different from standard melodic electronica but subsequent tracks turn considerably dizzier. Confronted with the rambunctious carousel “ Novosibirsk ” and seizure-gripped titular meltdown, one's reminded of Squarepusher at his noisiest and most provocative (“Please Feed Me My Own Sick” certainly seems to nod in the direction of Feed Me Weird Things), especially in those places where O Brien puts the bass up front. His material often resembles a drunken carousel, and not just sonically either but rhythmically too, especially when “Please Feed Me My Own Sick” woozily speeds up and slows down. “5 Ziegen” is like a mutant mix of greasy R'n'B and Neptune jazz, while “Defekt” suggests jazz fusion re-assembled after a pass or two through the shredder. The material is advanced in terms of imagination yet often earthy at its body-based core; occasionally visible underneath the dense interplay are straight-up tunes one could just as easily imagine played by an organ-bass-drums trio or a Black Sabbath cover band (“Omsk”). Zuckung is ultimately a wild but not entirely unpleasant ride.

September 2007